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Long gone are the days of models and high fashion consumers as blank mannequins for clothing. While this is still desirable to some for runway shows, the rise of tattoos in high fashion has been prevalent throughout the last decade. Helmut Lang’s Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear show famously featured tattooed models such as Slick Woods, Sarah Brannon, and Catherine McNeil, all wearing outfits that showcased their tattoos through cutouts and short hemlines.

The trend of tattoos on the runway began to gain traction during the 2010s. Viktor & Rolf became an adaptor of this, and in their Spring 2020 Couture show, they adorned models with fake tattoos all over their faces, chests, arms, and legs.

Source: Vogue Runway

This acted as a stark contrast to the youthful, feminine silhouettes of the dresses shown that season. Viktor Horsting, Co-Founder, co-Creative Director, and half of the brand’s name, described the collection as “sweetness combined with fierceness.” This exemplifies that not only was fashion becoming more accepting of tattoos on the runway, but they were even being added as accessories to the main collection.

Just this year, Heaven by Marc Jacobs released a temporary tattoo book along with their collection. The designer, himself, is no stranger to tattoos and has defended them as part of fashion.

The phenomenon of tattoos as accessories has manifested in more ways than just this. Both placements and styles of tattoos have come to resemble common accessories for many people. New York-based tattoo artist, GirlKnewYork, often finds herself at the intersection of fashion and tattoos.

She herself has leaf tattoos that wrap around her neck, creating the illusion of a necklace. GirlKnewYork often posts pictures of her work which consists largely of this style of tattoos; Distinctly delicate and placed in very visible places, wrapping around arms, legs, or fingers; Almost a tattoo version of jewelry. In the presence of jewelry and clothing, these tattoos resemble just another accessory.

The era of people being encouraged to get tattoos only in hideable places is long gone, and now, tattoos are becoming more desirable and perhaps even fashionable. Instead of wearing clothing that covers up tattoos, people are showcasing them and sometimes even drawing attention to them. As this continues, will tattoos become fashion’s hottest accessory?

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